Sunday, January 22, 2006

New York Dolls - All Dolled Up DVD

A fantastic DVD with amazingly good quality videos of a number of NY Dolls shows, all from the camera of Bob Gruen.
Bob followed the band around after acquiring a video camera - then, something that was cutting edge and unheardof! The shows are from NY (of course!), LA and San Francisco and show the band at the top of their game!
For those who never saw the band or who have never seen videos, this DVD will be a revelation! Jerry Nolan is a monster on the drums who has to be seen to be believed! He really made the band and pulled them all together. These videos show just how tight the band could be - sure, there are a couple of mistakes, but overall, the group is right in the pocket. This is before Johnny Thunders became a drug-addled spectacle - here, he & Sylvain Sylvain prove that they were a very worthy 2 guitar team. They trade riffs throughout all of the songs and each add bits that build up the song, not detract from it. While Johnny is generally accepted as the "lead" guitarist in the band, Sylvain is equally important to their 2 guitar sound! Arthur Kane actually comes off as a better bassist than you would think (though certainly no virtuoso!) and, while the vocals were always a weak point in the band, David Johanson is a great frontman and works well with the rest of the guys - especially Johnny.
There are ultra-rare videos of the one show they actually did in drag (at the drag bar, Club 82 in NYC) and even songs from the Red Patent Leather era!
Lots of very cool interviews are interspersed throughout the clips and there are plenty of extras, including 12 complete performances.
Absolutely one of the best Dolls releases - buy it if you see it!

T. Rex - Born To Boogie DVD

This DVD reissue of the 1972 film, Born to Boogie, shows off T. Rex at the top of their popularity in England with fan hysteria, screaming girls and plenty of good r'n'r!
Produced and partially filmed by Ringo Starr, who was friends with Marc Bolan and understood what he was going through with "T-Rextasy", this is mostly a concert film, though it also includes several somewhat surreal vignettes.
The show took place at Wembley in England in 1972, after "Electric Warrior" had been released and T Rex was riding high on the charts all over the world. The band rocks through their sets - the DVD includes the matinee performance as well as the evening show that is in the film - despite several technical problems and recurring tunings problems for Marc. He was never a virtuoso guitarist, but as part of the band (whose rhythm section is pretty terrific), everything gels, and his voice and charisma and songs carried them to the charts.
There are some silly fantasy sequences throughout the film, but most of them involve at least Marc playing some songs, which saves them, and others include jam sessions with T Rex accompanied by Ringo and Elton John.
All in all, a super 2 DVD set with tons of great extras, interviews and documentaries! Well worth the bux!!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps DVD

I found this DVD along with the Alice Cooper DVD for under $10 each at Border's Books, so these are in the bargain bins! Go searching!
This DVD is a great concert film! It simply shows a gig from start to finish, but since Neil was being a little theatrical on this tour, it is all interesting. The oversized "equipment" on stage and the cast of characters - most notably the "Road-eyes" - give plenty of visual stimulation, while the song list is practically a greatest hits package, although lacking in his biggest hit, "Heart Of Gold".
But you get plenty of other acoustic tunes, from "Sugar Mountain" to "The Needle and the Damage Done" with lots in between.
Crazy Horse joins Neil for superb versions of "Cinnamon Girl", "The Loner", "Cortez the Killer", "Like a Hurricane", "Hey Hey, My My" and a bonus track of "Tonight's the Night".
I saw Neil a year or so ago and he was still amazing, but this is a very cool document of his younger days and shows how well he can perform by himself and with CH.
Pick this up if you see it!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Good To See You Again Alice Cooper

This DVD combines live concert footage from the Billion Dollar Babies tour with an extremely silly and unwatchable (I really tried!), plotless "movie" that is an absolute waste of time and money. Fortunately, you can select only the concert footage on this DVD!
The B$B tour shows the Alice Cooper Band at the brink of its destruction. Lead Guitarist Glenn Buxton is entrenched in alcoholism and most of the leads are done by a session guitarist. There is also a keyboardist added to the band for this tour. So, you are definitely not seeing the band in top form!
That said, this is still an enjoyable concert, but not nearly as good as the band was at its height. I have seen clips from other shows, so I would think that full concerts footage exists somewhere - and, of course, there is the amazing In Concert TV show that has yet to be officially released.
So, better stuff is out there somewhere, but in the meantime, this will give you an idea of what the AC band was all about!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Blue Van - The Art of Rolling

The Blue Van is a new UK group that is rockin' out with a 60's/70's R'n'B/Small Faces/semi-moddish/I-don't-quite-know-how-to- describe-it sound. Organ driven and energetic and I'm sure that their shows are dance parties!
Not really sure who to compare these guys to - which is a good thing - but for those who appreciate good songs with a classic feel, definitely pick this up!

The Darkness - One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back

This sophomore record by the Darkness typlifies the 2nd album slump, to some extent. It's not a bad album - in fact, several songs are pretty damn good - but it does not match the majesty and silliness of "Permission to Land".
The CD starts off strong with the title song, and "Knockers" and "Is It Just Me" are also fun rockers, but "Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time" was just a bad idea all around! From there, the record kinda flounders. "Hazel Eyes" shows Justin paying homage to his time in Queen, without much success, "Girlfriend" is just a foolish novelty song with a completely absurd-sounding solo, and the closer, "Blind Man" just shows us all everything that we hated in bad metal ballads.
Again, the record is not awful, but the band is wasting the momentum and promise that they showed with "Permission". Unfortunately, is sorta seems like their 15 minutes is already up, but maybe if record number 3 returns to the more rockin' sounds of the 1st album then they might reverse their current trajectory!

(PS - I don't know what their current stage show is like, but when I saw them in 2004, I was nearly blinded! For a band named the Darkness, I have never seen more lights aimed at the audience in my life! Instead of my ears ringing afterwards, my eyes were sore for weeks! Be forewarned - bring sunglasses! I could barely watch the band - I have to avert my eyes for most of the set!)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Nashville Pussy - Get Some!

The latest from the NP gang and it's pretty damn rockin'! The opening "Pussy Time" has a great rollickin' riff and there are plenty of their patented call-and-answer AC/DC swagger all through this disc. Very cool version of Bob Seger's "Nutbush City Limits" (is Bob becoming hip again? How many bands have covered him lately - The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, Hellacopters, now NP, and, of course, this is all in the last couple of years) but i was disappointed that the cover "Snowblind" was the Ace Frehley song and not the Black Sabbath tune!

But, more great guitar work from Ruyter, wild screams from Blaine and new bassist Karen Cuda (from Hemi-cuda) locks in with Jeremy on the drums to keep the bottom end rockin'!

More cool points for having Daniel Rey (Ramones, Manitoba's Wild Kingdom) producing!

Alice Cooper - Dirty Diamonds

A good, solid effort from the Coop, and much better than anything that I have heard from him in decades. Basically, it sounds like he grabbed a current garage/punk'n'roll band as backup, which is a great improvement on the bad metal he has made in the past! Hell, the opening song - "Woman of Mass Distraction" sounds like it was stolen from the Hangmen, while other riffs could easily have been from other LA-based bands like the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, B-Movie Rats, Comatones, etc.
"Pretty Ballerina" is a surprise, but is well done as a serious cover of the Left Banke tune.
"The Saga of Jesse Jane" harkens back to early 70's Alice Cooper Band songs like "Desperado", though not quite as catchy.
Overall, this is a worthwhile r'n'r record and AC is pointed in the right direction. If he can raise the bar a little further with the songwriting he could conceivably come up with another classic eventually. Good to know that we can't write off the Coop yet!
OH! The last song, "Stand", is a horrible mistaken attempt at rap-rock and should be avoided at all costs! Heaven help us all if he ends up going in this revolting direction!

Bob Dylan Live at the Gaslight 1962

There are SO many new Dylan releases these days that it would be impossible to keep up with them all, but this one is definitely recommended!
This is certainly the earliest official recording of Dylan and the quality is surprisingly amazing! It essentially sounds like his first album!
Cool early versions of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" (with the crowd singing along already!) and "Don't Think Twice" and plenty of his interpretations of traditional folk tunes.
Like I said, there are plenty of Dylan releases these days, but for an early portrait of the man as an emerging star of the folk scene, buy this!

Ultimate Issac Hayes - Can you Dig It?

A great collection from the ultimate soul man! Starting with his theme from "Shaft" (of course!) and including his amazing covers of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and "Walk On By", as well as plenty of lesser known (as least by me!) tunes.
Bonus 15 minute DVD has Hayes footage from Wattstax along with his ultra-funny "Chocolate Salty Balls" (from South Park, of course), which was, incredibly enough, a hit in England!
Selling for a very reasonable $20 or so (for 2 CDs and the DVD), the only reason not to get this comp is if you already own everything this man has ever done!